Posts Tagged Political Topics

Pelosi, The Consummate Hypocrite

“Facing questions about why she and other top Congressional officials won’t release their tax returns, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) downplayed her previous demands for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to release his, calling the issue a distraction.

As recently as Wednesday, Pelosi had strongly urged Romney to provide further disclosure of his tax returns. But today, while maintaining Romney should release more documents because of “custom” and “tradition,” Pelosi said the issue was trivial compared with economic issues. “We spent too much time on that. We should be talking about middle-income tax cuts,” Pelosi said after answering two questions about the issue.

The Minority Leader faced questions about the issue after a McClatchy News report showed only 17 of 535 Members released their tax returns when asked.” …. Source: HERE

 

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Obama, World’s Greatest Orator, Smartest Man in the World

 

…. ” The president’s remark (“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”) was a direct attack on the principle of individual responsibility, the foundation of American freedom. If “you didn’t build that,” then you have no moral claim to it, and those with political power are morally justified in taking it away and using it to buy more political power. “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” Obama said in another candid moment, in 2008.

This isn’t even Obama’s only such revelatory comment of the past week. Politico.com reports that the president, in an interview with WTOL-TV of Toledo, Ohio, let the mask slip again when asked about the ObamaCare mandate tax. “It’s less a tax or a penalty than it is a principle–which is you can’t be a freeloader on other folks when it comes to your health care, if you can afford it,” he said.

Of course this is a dodge. The administration claimed that the mandate was not a tax for political purposes but was a tax for legal purposes. Chief Justice John Roberts tied himself in knots to accept the argument Obama is now running away from. Between them, the solicitor general and the chief justice look as if they were too clever by 1.

What’s objectionable about Obama’s comment, however, is not “tax” or “penalty” or even “principle.” It’s the way he uses the word “freeloader.”

Normally we think of a freeloader as somebody who sponges off others, which in the context of public policy means the government. A freeloader is an able-bodied welfare recipient, or someone who fakes a disability to collect Supplemental Security income, or who waits until his unemployment runs out before looking for a job.

Now, think about how the ObamaCare mandate tax is structured. As Roberts noted in his opinion for the court in NFIB v. Sebelius, “It does not apply to individuals who do not pay federal income taxes because their household income is less than the filing threshold in the Internal Revenue Code. For taxpayers who do owe the payment, its amount is determined by such familiar factors as taxable income, number of dependents, and joint filing status.”

The only people who pay the ObamaCare mandate tax are people who make a living. Actual freeloaders are exempt. What Obama calls a freeloader is someone who makes his own money and pays his taxes but does not spend his money in the government-approved way.

The Obama campaign hotly disputes Romney’s contention that the president meant what he said. A “fact check” from the Obama-Biden “Truth Team” (formerly Attack Watch) claims that Romney “is taking President Obama’s words out of context” to produce “a complete distortion.” Here is the full context, as presented by the Truth Team:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. The Team then explains: “The President’s full remarks show that the ‘that’ in ‘you didn’t build that’ clearly refers to roads and bridges–public infrastructure we count on the government to build and maintain.”

That’s bunk, and not only because “business” is more proximate to the pronoun “that” and therefore its more likely antecedent. The Truth Team’s interpretation is ungrammatical. “Roads and bridges” is plural; “that” is singular. If the Team is right about Obama’s meaning, he should have said, “You didn’t build those.”

Barack Obama is supposed to be the World’s Greatest Orator, the smartest man in the world. Yet his campaign asks us to believe he is not even competent to construct a sentence. ” ….Source: HERE

11:57 PDT >>>”The Obama campaign is purposefully trying to make it sound like Romney is misquoting the president, when the official White House transcript backs up Romney’s quotation. ” (Source: HERE)

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4 Pinocchios for Obama

 

Check this out.

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Obamacare Tax (cartoon)

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2012: A Single-Issue Election

 

…. “The president’s Cleveland oration was terrific. If for the next five months the president and Mitt Romney spoke of nothing other than economic growth—on the stump, in their debates, in their sleep—this election would be the best $2 billion “investment” of campaign funds that Citizens United ever enabled. Get the growth choice right, and we’ll be ok. Get it wrong and your kids will be talking Australia emigration.

Right now, with growth stuck below 2%, we’re toast. With strong growth at 3% or better, there will be jobs. With long-term growth, Medicare, debt and the rest of the horribles that keep worrywarts awake at night are solvable. With strong growth, the U.S. will not have to cede world leadership prematurely to whichever Chinese functionary slugs his way to the top of their heap. With strong growth, your college graduate can move out of the house. With normal American growth, Europe may be irrelevant but it won’t die, and a U.S. president won’t look oddly small talking to the Vladimir Putins of the world.

Mr. Obama was exactly right in Cleveland when he said economic growth “is the defining issue of our time,” that his and his opponents’ views on growth are fundamentally different and “this election is your chance to break that stalemate.” This he gets. Only the most obtuse “pragmatists” persist in believing the solution lies in a mystical center somehow combining elements from this ideological oil and water.

Put differently, this is a substance election. It’s not about whether one “likes” Barack Obama or can’t warm to Mitt Romney. Voters have to pick two competing growth models, which means paying attention to what the candidates are saying about economic growth.

It’s true the Obama Cleveland speech had many familiar rhetorical distortions. One of the most revealing, though, is that “Governor Romney and his allies in Congress believe deeply in the theory that . . . the best way to grow the economy is from the top down.”

Whatever that may mean, more interesting is the Obama counter-theory found here, what he calls “our North Star—an economy that’s built not from the top down, but from a growing middle class.”

There is no theory anywhere in non-Marxist economics that says growth’s primary engine is a social class. A middle class is the result of growth, not its cause. Barack Obama not only believes in class-based growth but has built his whole growth strategy around it.

One word appears nowhere in the 53-minute Obama speech on economic growth: “capital.” Human, financial, whatever. Capital dare not speak its name.

Most revealing is that the phrases “my plan” and “I have a plan” appear 13 times. A central role for planning often appears in emerging, underdeveloped economies, not in an advanced economy like ours in which the discovery and diffusion of productive new ideas is spontaneous, rapid and unpredictable.

But he’s right: Trying to conjoin Obama growth theory with that of his opposition will produce economic stalemate. Voters have to choose.

Mr. Romney has been giving fine speeches on “the liberating power of the free enterprise system.” One hopes the Romney camp doesn’t think everyone knows what that means. These are difficult and confusing economic times, and Team Romney should not underestimate the appeal of Mr. Obama’s confused economic ideas if drilled daily into the electorate’s soft clay.

If Mr. Romney hopes to win what Barack Obama is rightly calling a defining growth election, the governor will have to refute in detail the president’s notions of how growth happens and then explain to voters the real-economy alternative.

Mitt Romney says, “I’ve done it.” To win, he’ll have to tell voters what “it” means.

So writes, in part, Daniel Henninger in a Wall Street Journal article entitled: “It’s a Single-Issue Election”.

Source: HERE

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Public Sector Unions Out of Balance

Mortimer Zuckerman of US News has written an interesting article entitled: “Why We Need a New Approach to Public Unions”.  He writes, in part:

 … “How did the balance of power in the public sector become so out of whack? The public unions often elect the management that they negotiate with. They organize voting campaigns for politicians who, upon election, repay their benefactors by approving salaries and benefits for the public sector employees, irrespective of whether they are sustainable, and the unions don’t worry about bankrupting those sitting opposite them at the table. The taxpayer-funded public service unions have essentially dictated the terms of their employment to the taxpayers they are supposed to serve.

Government employees are better off in almost every area than private sector employees, be it in paid benefits, time off, or job security. Pensions are particularly irritating, for many state workers can retire in their mid-50s at close to full pay and receive pensions for far more years than they have worked, even though they are young enough to take another job. If you take their pensions’ present value in terms of the cash you would need to buy an annuity making payments equal to the pension, we have created a new class of millionaires.

Just think, in 2008, the average wage for the 1.9 million federal civilian workers was more than $79,000, compared to an average of slightly over $50,000 for the nation’s 108 million private sector workers (measured in full-time equivalents), even though most federal workers cannot bargain over their pay and benefits. Ninety percent of government employees receive lifetime pension benefits versus 18 percent of private employees, not to mention annual salary increases and earlier retirement with instant, guaranteed benefits paid for with the taxes of the very same private sector workers. About 84 percent of state and local government employees have access to defined-benefit plans that are no longer widely available in the private sector.

The voters in Wisconsin supported Walker’s insistence that public employees make substantial changes in the way they negotiate labor contracts. He has made it much more difficult for public unions to collect dues via automatic payroll deduction, which had its effect: It reduced membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees by almost 50 percent. They simply did not feel that union membership was worth the cost of union dues when taken directly out of their own pockets.

The governor was able to point to examples from near-state rivals. In Indiana, the governor rescinded collective bargaining rights for public employees in 2005 and showed how reforms could work if they were allowed to take hold. This reaction was not limited to a blue state like Wisconsin. In San Diego, 66 percent of the voters approved imposing a six-year freeze on the pay levels used to determine pension benefits for city workers. In San Jose, 70 percent voted to require city workers to pay up to 16 percent of their salaries to retain their retirement plans or accept more modest benefits. In Iowa, the governor will propose requiring state workers, some of whom pay nothing toward their health insurance, to shoulder 20 percent of the premium.

The Wisconsin election has made officeholders and candidates realize that it is safer to take on liberal interest groups than conservative ones, safer to cut government than to increase taxes, and safer to face down irate public sector employees than irate taxpayers. Walker didn’t just win, he won decisively enough to give heart to public officials across the nation to be firmer.

More and more people recognize that when it comes to state obligations for pensions and benefits, we are looking at a financial train wreck. If anything, the public wants more and not less of this policy of holding down taxes and cutting back on the scale of government expenses, so as to ensure funding for core government services such as libraries, parks, and healthcare. So much so that in Wisconsin some 38 percent of union households voted for Walker; he received over 200,000 more votes than he got just 18 months ago. The Wisconsin victory is a vivid illustration of the enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats, reflected in the fact that Republicans out-raised and out-organized the mythically powerful labor unions in a large industrial state and even exceeded traditional union efforts to get out the vote. Thousands of Republican volunteers made more than 4 million voter contacts ahead of the recall election, and the party opened 26 offices, most of which will now become Romney campaign offices. All this was in the face of Big Labor, which went all-out in putting millions of dollars, months of organizing, and its reputation as a political superpower on the line to defeat Walker. It got trounced.

No other labor fight has captured the attention of Americans since President Ronald Reagan fired 11,000 air traffic controllers in 1981 for an illegal strike. (Franklin D. Roosevelt had called the idea of strikes by federal employees “unthinkable and intolerable.”) Reagan’s move encouraged businesses to take harder stands against unions and helped bring about a deep decline in union membership.

Quite simply, we no longer live in an age of surplus in which everyone can increase spending or cut taxes, be they Democrats or Republicans. We are in the midst of several years of minimal economic growth that forces tough choices on unsustainable public spending and future spending commitments. We are in a painful zero-sum era in which the politics of deciding who loses what, when, and how is upon us. Compromises will be increasingly difficult, for the public will not accept a labor movement that exploits its powerful advantage in contract negotiations based on political endorsements and votes for the very people who are theoretically on the other side of the negotiating table, in a culture of you-scratch-my-back, we’ll-scratch-yours.” ….

Source: HERE

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2012 Independence Day: It Gets Worse

 

 

 

Tyrades! By Danny Tyree

Back in my days at Marshall County High School (Lewisburg, Tennessee), I was given the assignment of writing a futurist piece for the school newspaper.

I threw something together out of thin air, with no research into scientific prototypes or looming demographic trends and no true extrapolation from current events. Older and wiser (and facing a relentless deadline), I’ve now assigned myself the task of picturing Independence Day 2017 for you.

Five years from now, the currency used to buy hot dogs and watermelons will no longer say “In God We Trust.” No, the words won’t have been banned; the U.S. will just be printing money so fast that the motto smears. (“InGfrtyodmnbvWe&dTrqwzust. And you can take that to the bank!”)

Conversation around the picnic table will reveal just how complacent technology will have made us. (“Bypassing Congress by signing executive orders willy-nilly? Legislating from the bench? Hey, there are apps for that now!”)

The eagle will fly high as the downtrodden are given hope. (“If your parents dragged you to this country against your will, you’re forgiven. If your cousin enticed you here with snazzy postcards, that’s cool, too. America: Land of the Free and Home of the Attractive Nuisance.”)

Candidates making stump speeches will reassure us about the rarity of voter fraud, even as the offense shifts from merely DEAD voters to brazen attempts involving dead LITERARY FIGURES. (“Call me Ishmael – and sign me up in the Democratic primary!”)

Our breaking away from England will be a distant memory. Patriots will instead celebrate the PERMANENT REMOVAL OF THE TOP ONE PERCENT OF WAGER EARNERS. Yep, this seemingly impossible task will have been accomplished by our finest economics school graduates. (“Grade inflation? What grade inflation? C’mon – give me a celebratory high…what’s that number after four…?”)

Yes, it’ll be a land where a man is not measured by the color of his skin or the accent of his tongue or the ineptness of his schemes to hide his affair from his terminally ill wife- but by the OUNCES of his sugary soft drink! (“Lay’s potato chips: no one can eat just one? We’ll see what Mr. Taser has to say about that, dirtbag.”)

In an amusing hidden consequence of legislation before the Supreme Court in 2012, local beauty pageants must henceforth feature a Miss Congeniality, an essay portion, a talent competition and -oh, yes – a death panel.

Of course touchiness will remain a part of the holiday. (“I can’t BELIEVE that no one held a séance to ascertain Judy Garland’s preference for the fireworks display. That is SO homophobic!”)

Editorials in the July 4 editions of newspapers will scoff at claims the U.S. Constitution is being overruled by international law. (“It is a coincidence that defendants must now yodel their affirmation. And stodgy old black robes really did need to be replaced with black lederhosen.”)

Other editorials will seek to calm the hysteria about the encroachment of Sharia law into American jurisprudence. (“The veil on the Statue of Liberty is there to protect her from ultraviolet radiation. And most offenses will be treated with a wrist slap – and by that we mean slapping the wrist while the hand is flopping on the ground.”)

Furthermore – oh, wait – the smuggle-guns-to-Mexico potato sack race is starting…

©2012 Danny Tyree. Danny’s’ weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.

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Time to Police the Government

By Tom Purcell

The balance between the police and the policed is getting way out of whack — and we better restore it now.

I speak of a spate of new technologies — high-tech cameras, satellites and now, drones being flown over U.S. soil — that are giving police and government way too much power over the average Joe.

Our country was founded by people who were wary of government power, you see. They were wary of government do-gooders attaining too much control, as they knew that absolute power always corrupts absolutely.

So they implemented checks and balances to limit that power.

They knew, too, however, that human nature is imperfect — that there will always be crooks, murderers and con men and that government must provide average, law-abiding citizens with basic protections against those who seek to do them harm.

Thus, our Constitution was designed to strike a proper balance between police and government agencies and the citizens they police.

The Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, for instance, guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. It requires probable cause and a judicially sanctioned warrant before the police are permitted to enter one’s home.

The idea was to protect the liberties of the average Joe by putting the burden on police and government agencies. Better that 10 guilty men go free than to convict a single innocent man.

This proper balance between the police and the policed worked well for many years. But technology is upending that balance.

Consider: Back in the ’50s and ’60s, when my father was a young man, there were speed traps, just as there are now.

When one driver saw a police car hiding behind shrubs, he flashed his high beams at oncoming drivers to warn them to slow down. The policed collaborated against the police and all was well.

The police had it tough back then. To gauge a driver’s speed, an officer had to work a manual stopwatch, then do math. The process was so imprecise, the odds weren’t bad that the ticket would be tossed out in court or reduced to a lesser charge.

Now the police have precise VASCAR and radar technologies. Hidden speed cameras are popping up all over the place. New technologies are even making it possible to monitor speeds using satellites!

While such technologies may benefit drivers by slowing traffic at dangerous intersections, there is a downside: The average Joe will soon be helpless in the face of small-town police who use such technologies to establish lucrative, high-tech speed traps.

But as technology upends the balance between the police and the policed, that is the least of the average Joe’s worries.

Did you know our federal government is using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) — much like the drones it uses to monitor and kill enemies overseas — to monitor U.S. citizens?

Did you know, says Investor’s Business Daily, that the EPA is conducting surveillance on farmers in Nebraska and Iowa, looking for violations of the Clean Water Act?

Did you know that the Federal Aviation Administration has loosened restrictions on the use of drones by the nation’s 18,000 local police departments?

How long will it be before quiet little planes monitor our speed and everything else we do?

How long before illegal searches, forbidden by the Fourth Amendment, are commonplace?

We must stop the drones now.

Flashing our high beams won’t matter a whit once the balance between the police and the policed gets that far out of whack.

©2012 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a freelance writer is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune- Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

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Hey, Progressives, How About Providing A Concrete Alternative

… “It’s almost comforting, in such a florid, menacing universe, to wallow in righteous defeat (Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin win). But I would suggest that if progressives want to change minds and political outcomes, they might try a different strategy: Instead of merely rallying opposition to irredeemable bogeymen, how about providing a concrete, numbers-rich alternative to the brutal budgetary math Walker’s union-tweaking policies were designed to address?

It is a fact that the majority of state budgets are in the red, that overall state spending increased by 81 percent from 2002-2007, and that rare-in-the-private-sector defined benefit pensions for government workers (along with post-retirement medical benefits) are a large and growing portion of state and local budgets, even while being chronically underfunded. The situation is terrible now, and will be much worse in the near future. So, progressives: Tell us concretely what you plan to do about this.

The state of California’s public-sector pension contributions have increased 304 percent in a decade, up to $2.2 billion of a $91 billion budget, and growing faster by the minute. Pension contributions account for 20 percent and 27 percent, respectively, of the city budgets of San Diego and San Jose, whose citizens have responded by passing initiatives asking government workers to contribute more to their own pension and health care. Cities from California to Rhode Island have initiated bankruptcy over pension costs.

So, progressives: What is the right percentage of a government budget to be spent on public sector pensions? If this requires that cities and states simply need to come up with bigger budgets (through increased taxes) precisely how much bigger would be appropriate? If you don’t want to increase overall budgets, what other government services are you willing to cut?

If the past four years of public debate are any indicator, we won’t soon see concrete answers to any questions like these. Progressives almost never tell us how big they think the government should be. It is easier to make grand and vague gestures on behalf of working Americans than it is to justify the math of public sector unions negotiating with union-backed politicians to spend the money of non-union taxpayers, which may help explain why Americans are solidly in favor of public employees paying more of their own freight. And in all the hot air spewed about the Wisconsin recall, where were the positive arguments for all the citizen benefits received in the prior run-ups in Badger State spending?

As long as Democrats keep dodging these questions, no amount of plutocrat-baiting will reverse their political fortunes. Governments at all levels are out of money. Progressives are going to have to come up with a better response to that than saying “we were robbed.”" [So writes, in part, Matt Welch in an article entitled "Get serious About Governing, Democrats"]

 

 

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Obvious, Blatant, Partisan “Rooting” by Cable News Covering WI Election

By DYLAN BYERS

“If ever there was a political event to lay bare the partisan ideologies of the cable news media, the Wisconsin recall was it.

MSNBC was blatantly rooting for Tom Barrett to defeat Gov. Scott Walker, even sending union champion Ed Schultz to cover an event with no apologies for the dog he has in the fight. (Earlier tonight, Chris Matthews even told Schultz that if he wasn’t an MSNBC host, he could be head of the AFL-CIO.) When it became clear that Barrett would lose, Schultz looked almost teary eyed. Not long after, the network’s contributors immediately began suggesting that this was, in fact, good news for Obama — who, after all, hadn’t even set foot in Wisconsin — and began attacking Mitt Romney.

Meanwhile, Fox News was blatantly rooting for Gov. Walker, and the moment it became clear that Walker might win, host Sean Hannity called it “a repudiation of big unions,” which did “everything they could do to demonize Scott Walker.” Guest Hugh Hewitt then predicted that, five months from now, Romney would follow Walker just “as Reagan followed Thatcher.” Fox’s Greta Van Susteren later hosted what amounted to a victory celebration for the Republicans.

Given this blatant partisan coverage, it was absolutely impossible to watch either network and weed out any clear understanding of the actual significance of the event, much less what effect it would actually have on the 2012 presidential election.”…. Source: HERE

 

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If Obama Told the Grads the Truth

By Tom Purcell

Students, faculty and parents, it is my honor to deliver a commencement speech today. I am about to do something I have never done as president: tell it like it is.

Back in 2008, I was nothing but an idea — a blank canvas upon which millions painted whatever image they wanted to see.

Americans were frightened then, as the U.S. and the world came frighteningly close to an economic meltdown.

My words reassured millions. I told you I was going to bridge the political divide, bring people together, get America’s fiscal house in order, get the economy going and cut our massive deficit in half by the end of my first term.

You elected me. Suckers!

The first thing I did, under the guise of greatly improving the economy, was the largest stimulus package in world history.

Those ninny Republicans wanted to stimulate the economy through massive temporary tax breaks and credits.

I preferred the old Chicago-Democrat method, using nearly $1 trillion in taxpayer funds to pay off unions and other supporters.

By my own measure — I promised the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent — that program failed.

Still, my poll numbers were high. I could have used my sizable political capital to tackle our real problems — a muddled tax system that holds back growth and an explosion in entitlement spending that will soon cripple America — but I had no time for that.

So I punted. I established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, co-chaired by Republican former Sen. Alan Simpson and Democrat former Sen. Erskine Bowles, and let them figure out what to do about tax reform and entitlement spending.

After all, I had more important fish to fry: my legacy!

I had Democrat majorities in the House and the Senate and an irresistible opportunity to be the first president to create the crown jewel of entitlements: health care for all!

Sure, I burned through my political capital in the process. Many were unhappy about government meddling with their relationship with their doctors. Now, the Catholic Church is grumbling about government meddling with religious freedom (by me telling it what provisions better be in its employee health policies).

Common people, who cling to religion and guns, will never understand hope and change.

I single-handedly created the tea-party response to my policies. Republicans gave Democrats a shellacking in the 2010 elections and took over the House.

Soon after those elections, the Simpson-Bowles commission released a blueprint for tax and entitlement reform — solid ideas that both parties could find common ground on.

It gave me a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate real leadership to bring both parties together to reform taxes and entitlements and contribute mightily to badly needed growth.

But I didn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. Truth be told, this is the hardest job in the world and I really have no clue what I am doing.

As the economy stumbles, unemployment is high, revenues are flat, spending is out of control and our deficit is frightening, my only hope of a second term is to confuse, obfuscate, point fingers and change the subject.

In any event, Class of 2012, here is my advice as you enter the worst job market in years: Good luck because you’re going to need it.

And despite the fact that your generation will be saddled with years of high taxation and sluggish economic conditions thanks to my policies, I thank you for your continued support.

Suckers!

©2012 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a freelance writer is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune- Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or email cari@cagle.com. Email Tom at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.

 

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Wisconsin Recall “Like Children Throwing A Tantrum”

Columnist George Will writes, in part:

…. “In 2010, government employees unions campaigned against Walker’s (Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker) “5 and 12” plan. It requires government employees to contribute 5.8 percent of their pay to their pension plans. (Most were paying less than 1 percent. Most private-sector workers have no pensions; those who do pay, on average, much more than 5.8 percent.) Walker’s reform requires government employees to pay 12.6 percent of their health care premiums (up from 6 percent but still less than the 21 percent private-sector average). Defeated in 2010, the unions now are demanding, as frustrated children do after losing a game, “Let’s start over!”

Like children throwing a tantrum against the rules of a game going badly, in 2011 petulant Wisconsin Democratic legislators fled to Illinois to disrupt the Legislature. Walker’s reforms included restricting the issues subject to collective bargaining. This emancipated school districts from buying teachers’ health insurance from a provider entity associated with the teachers union. Barrett used Walker’s reform to save Milwaukee $19 million.” …More HERE

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Summer Jobs for Foreign Students – Huh?

 

… The Obama administration is going to great lengths to make sure Scherbina and about 100,000 other foreign student workers are not disappointed. Last summer, the popular program, aimed at creating good will abroad, was rocked by scandal when students working at a candy warehouse in Pennsylvania staged a protest, complaining of isolation and overwork.

… Today, more than 50 ­million Americans of traditional working age are not employed, and yet a growing number of domestic jobs — from hotel clerks to nurses to computer scientists — are being performed by foreign-born workers.

For college-age Americans, there is a high rate of unemployment among those from poor families and fierce competition among middle-class students to build résumés that show responsibility. So why, critics wonder, are fewer young Americans snapping up relatively easy summer jobs? In other words, why is Scherbina here?…

Read More: HERE

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In the End, You Get What You Deserve

In the end, free societies get the governments they deserve. So, if the American people wish to choose their chief executive on the basis of the “war on women,” the Republican theocrats’ confiscation of your contraceptives, or whatever other mangy and emaciated rabbit the Great Magician produces from his threadbare topper, they are free to do so, and they will live with the consequences. This week’s bit of ham-handed misdirection was “the Buffett Rule,” a not-so-disguised capital-gains tax hike designed to ensure that Warren Buffett pays as much tax as his secretary. If the alleged Sage of Omaha is as exercised about this as his public effusions would suggest, I’d be in favor of repealing the prohibition on Bills of Attainder, and the old boy could sleep easy at night. But instead every other American “millionaire” will be subject to the new rule – because, as President Obama said this week, it “will help us close our deficit.”

Wow! Who knew it was that easy?

A-hem. According to the Congressional Budget Office (the same nonpartisan bean counters who project that on Obama’s current spending proposals the entire U.S. economy will cease to exist in 2027) Obama’s Buffett Rule will raise – stand well back – $3.2 billion per year. Or what the United States government currently borrows every 17 hours. So in 514 years it will have raised enough additional revenue to pay off the 2011 federal budget deficit. If you want to mark it on your calendar, 514 years is the year 2526. There’s a sporting chance Joe Biden will have retired from public life by then, but other than that I’m not making any bets.

Let’s go back to that presidential sound bite:

“It will help us close our deficit.”

I’m beginning to suspect that the Oval Office teleprompter may be malfunctioning, or that perhaps that NBC News producer who “accidentally” edited George Zimmerman into sounding like a racist has now edited the smartest president of all time into sounding like an idiot. Either way, it appears the last seven words fell off the end of the sentence. What the president meant to say was:
“It will help us close our deficit … for 2011 … within a mere half-millennium!” [Pause for deafening cheers and standing ovation.]

Sometimes societies become too stupid to survive. A nation that takes Barack Obama’s current rhetorical flourishes seriously is certainly well advanced along that dismal path. The current federal debt burden works out at about $140,000 per federal taxpayer, and President Obama is proposing to increase both debt and taxes. Are you one of those taxpayers? How much more do you want added to your $140,000 debt burden? As the Great Magician would say, pick a number, any number. Sorry, you’re wrong. Whatever you’re willing to bear, he’s got more lined up for you…. More HERE

So writes, in part, Mark Steyn, in an article entitled: “Buying ‘Buffett Rule’ makes you a fool”.

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Obamacare – Both Parties Owe Americans a Better Plan

Having listened to, and read the transcripts, of the arguments placed before the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of “Obamacare”, it is clear to me that a “re-draft” is needed.  Our health care system clearly needs reform but with a sensible bi-partisan plan. An editorial in today’s Chicago Tribune, entitled : “If Obamacare fails, both parties owe Americans a better plan”, captured my sentiment exactly.  Here, in part, is their opinion:

… The prospect that the court will strike down all or part of the law known as Obamacare hands political leaders of both parties a formidable challenge — and a vast opportunity: a second chance to get health care reform right.

The law isn’t scheduled to fully kick in until 2014. Plenty of time for a reset — a reset that both major parties have an obligation to deliver.

Democrats have been assuming that the law would be upheld by the court and that the American people would come to love it as they learned about it. Neither seems likely now.

Republicans have been chanting, “Repeal and replace.” But now there’s more urgency behind the question: With what? Republican pols came up with several smart ideas during congressional tussles before passage of this bill two years ago, but those never gelled into a coherent, compelling and competing bill.

The court is expected to rule in June. Between now and then — and possibly after the justices rule as well — Democrats and Republicans have a choice: They can continue to cast blame on one another but otherwise dodge this issue until after November’s election. Or they can dwell on the millions of Americans who need health care coverage.

Politicians of the first persuasion, who see the upcoming ruling as nothing more than ammunition for election-year attacks, invite voters to show them the door. What problems are they solving?

We instead hope that lawmakers — Democrats chastened by the court’s skepticism, Republicans who now have to deliver an alternative to Obamacare — will work together toward a bipartisan health care reform law. A law that carefully and affordably expands care.

Obamacare failed to do that. Instead, Americans got a law shoved through Congress by Democrats. A law that required an array of especially noxious backroom deals — Remember the “Cornhusker Kickback” to bribe a Nebraska senator? — to gain the required votes. A law whose unaffordable price tag was intentionally disguised by the sponsors’ accounting gimmicks and smoke-and-mirrors projections.

That’s a big reason why many Americans still don’t like the law.

Every politician in America — President Barack Obama and the Republicans campaigning to replace him included — should be ready for this question: The Supreme Court — or the next Congress — could kill Obamacare. What are your ideas for a better way to expand coverage without breaking the bank?

Republicans: “Told you so” isn’t an answer. You need an understandable and solutions-oriented explanation of the “replace” in “Repeal and replace.”

Democrats: “Obamacare minus the mandate is just fine” isn’t a solution. The mandate was part of the law’s central bargain: Everyone would buy coverage, and in exchange, insurance companies would cover all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions. Without the mandate, health premiums soar or insurance companies collapse. That’s unhealthy for all Americans.

Our goal here isn’t to predict the court’s decision. It’s to assure that whatever the health reform law’s fate, political leaders of both parties promptly respond with the best possible plan.

It will be hugely embarrassing to Obama and his party if the court strikes down the signature achievement of his presidency. But if that happens, he should respond with Plan B — and this time, don’t trust the law-drafting entirely to Congress.

Remember how Obama gathered Republican and Democratic leaders for a televised health care summit in 2010, in what he billed as an attempt to share the best ideas for reform? In the end, the Republican ideas wound up on the cutting-room floor. Democrats didn’t just squander many good proposals. They turned health reform into a purely partisan exercise.

That said, Obama’s Republican challenger will need more than slogans to convince voters. He’ll need a realistic rationale for why his alternative plan will attract Republican and Democratic votes on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers, candidates: Don’t wait to see if the court really does hit the reset button. Start the debate now.

Americans are listening. And expecting you to perform better than you have in the past.

Source: HERE

 

(Here are the links to audio tapes and pdf transcripts:)

Monday: http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio_detail.aspx?argument=11-398-Monday

Tuesday:  http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio_detail.aspx?argument=11-398-Tuesday

 

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